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Trinity Mirror staff ask why they are getting a 1 per cent pay deal as company announces a 20 per cent profit

31 July 2017

As shareholders at Trinity Mirror can look forward to a dividend pay-out of 7.1 per cent and the company forecasts a profit of 19.6 per cent, the NUJ is asking why staff have been offered a one per cent rise, essentially a pay cut.

In its interim half-year figures the company, which publishes the Daily Mirror and 260 titles including national, regional and sports titles and websites, said it had made £10m structural savings and intended to increase its cost savings target for the year to £20m.

The report said: "Strong management of the cost base limited the decline in adjusted operating profit to 9.4 per cent or £6.5 million despite revenue falling by 14.6 per cent or £54.7 million.  Adjusted operating margin increased by 1.2 percentage points to 19.6 per cent. Like for like revenue fell by 9.3per cent or £32.9 million." Simon Fox, Trinity Mirror chief executive, said:

"Whilst the trading environment for print in the first half was volatile, we remain on course to meet expectations for the year. I continue to anticipate that the second half will show improving revenue momentum as we benefit from initiatives implemented during the first half of the year."

The report said the company had reduced its net debt to £22.4m and that it had acquired 4.2 million of its shares for £4.6 million during the period under the £10 million share buyback programme, announced in August 2016, bringing the total amount purchased to 6.7 million shares for £6.9 million.

Chris Morley, Trinity Mirror NUJ group coordinator, said:

“It is disappointing that while Trinity Mirror has as good as wiped out its debt, it still clings to the same relentless cuts agenda that has failed to come good in the last ten years.
"It is worrying that as it boosts its interim dividend pay-out for shareholders to 7.1 per cent,  the company trumpets that it has now expects to achieve £20 million cost cuts this year – a full £5 million more than was planned. With that comes a £15 million restructuring charge, money that could be better spent addressing its stated strategic vision ‘that quality content will remain at the heart of our business’.

“The company has professed to have identified ‘opportunities for greater investment in content creation’, but we say it needs to be substantial and it needs to be now. Investment for quality content cannot be done in isolation, it also needs to be targeted at in its staff who are delivering huge productivity gains for little financial thanks. While the pay-out to shareholders is all well and good, our members in the regional titles have been offered a ‘pay cut’, a sub-inflation deal for this year of 1 per cent. Trinity Mirror can clearly afford to do better given it spent £4.6 million buying back its own shares and judging by other figures in these results.

“Our members are asking whether a strategy that is still failing to meet its key objectives in raising advertising cash from both print and digital, can be sustained by continued cutbacks on the core business?”

Martin Shipton, Trinity Mirror Group Chapel FoC, said:

“It is almost beyond belief that while posting a profit margin verging on 20per cent, Trinity Mirror expects its loyal and hardworking employees to accept a real terms pay cut. Following the decision in May to increase the chief executive officer's potential bonus, the group is demonstrating where its priorities lie. We shall be redoubling our efforts to secure a fair outcome for our members.”

Full report

Tags: , local news matters, local newspapers, trinity mirror, simon fox, company results, pay